One of the best alternatives to standard cooling fans and HVAC systems is definitely the portable air conditioner.
These are usually mobile and self-contained, and they are useful in many different types of spaces, such as homes, offices, or even garages, given that you have a way to vent the hot air (usually through a window).
Just like all other solutions for lowering the indoor temperature, these too have their cost, and you will feel it on your monthly electricity check. However, the price you have to pay will depend on the unit size, electricity provider costs, and many other variables.
If you want to find a complete answer on how much does it cost to run a portable air conditioner, as well as how much electricity does a window air conditioner use, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, I will try to give you a comprehensive insight into the prices per hour, day, and month.
The primary goal is to understand how much electricity is being spent by a portable AC so that you can determine whether this product is good for you or not.
How Much Does it Cost to Run a Portable Airconditioner per Hour?
The amount of electricity that a portable air conditioner might use depends on factors, such as your local provider’s rate, the size of the room, and the size and strength of your air conditioner.
For example, the cost to run a 5000 BTU air conditioner per hour, we can give you a straightforward answer – it’s $0.07. A slightly larger unit, 8000 BTU, costs $0.11 per hour, while the 10000 BTU unit reaches the price of $0.14 per hour.
The 12000 BTU uni costs some $0.16 per hour, and finally, the 15000 BTU portable air conditioner spends $0.20 each hour of its work.
These prices hold true when talking about a machine with an average EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) of 10. Also, we calculated the numbers by assuming that the average electricity price per kWh in the US doesn’t exceed 10.4 cents.
Finally, the total price for using the portable air conditioner may change depending on how much you use it, wattage, and the BTU itself.
What Does BTU Mean?
For those who are not that familiar with the technical AC lingo, you may be familiar with the term BTU. However, many people don’t really have a clue what this acronym means.
BTU stands for “British Thermal Unit”, and it’s actually an internationally accepted standard for energy measurement.
A single (1) BTU stands for the amount of energy necessary to heat up 1 pound of water to 1 degree Fahrenheit.
These are some of the most common measurements when it comes to heating and air conditioning systems.
What Does BTU Mean for a Portable Air Condition?
Every portable air conditioners have a BTU rating. An air conditioner BTU rating informs you about the power of the unit in question.
However, using BTUs for air conditioners can seem a bit counterintuitive, as BTUs are heating units, and air conditioners actually cool air down. Nevertheless, we still apply these measurements. How? Well, by reversing the calculation process. In the case of (portable) ACs, we are not measuring the added heat anymore, but rather the amount of heat that is being removed.
Just like with heating units, the higher the BTU is, the more powerful the portable air conditioner in its most important task – cooling the room down. If you have a big room of more square feet, you will need a bigger AC unit to cover your needs.
Usually, to determine how many BTUs you need to heat up the room, you should multiply the square footage of your room by 20 (BTUs) per foot. This means that a room of 100 squared feet needs 2000 BTUs to heat, while a room of 1000 squared feet needs 20000 BTUs to heat up.
In the following paragraphs, we’ll discuss the price of running each type of portable air conditioner.
How Much Does It Cost to Run a 5000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner?
As mentioned above, this type of air conditioner costs some $0.07 per hour. If you use it for 8 hours each day, the price won’t exceed $0.56. Monthly usage costs some $17.36.
Of course, there might be some additional costs if you turn it off and then back on often, as starting the machine requires a bit more energy. However, you can rely on these average prices.
How Much Does It Cost to Run an 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner?
This one costs some $0.11 per day on average, which means that daily expenditure reaches $0.88 while the monthly one costs $26.40.
How Much Does it Cost to Run a 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner?
For the 1000 BTU portable air conditioner, the average hourly price is $0.14, while the daily one reaches up to $1.12, assuming that you don’t use it for more than 8 hours each day. The monthly price is some $33.60.
How Much Does it Cost to Run a 12,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner?
For the stronger model of 12000 BTU, the hourly cost is $0.16. This means that 8-hour of activity costs $1.28, and the monthly one doesn’t exceed $38.40.
How Much Does it Cost to Run a 15,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner?
Finally, a 15000 BTU cooling machine’s hourly rate will cost you some $0.20. The daily price is $1.60, while the monthly one is $48.
Now that you know the price for hourly, daily, and monthly expenditure of different types of air conditioners, let’s discuss the energy expenditure. This can be particularly important if you want to save some energy and try to organize your life greener.
How Much Electricity Does a Portable Air Conditioner Use?
The BTU usage is considered equal to the electricity used by the portable air conditioner. We can convert BTUs to kilowatt-hours to express the energy expenditure more clearly and in universal measures.
For example, a 5,000 BTU air conditioner spends around 1.4 kWh, while a 10,000 BTU unit uses some 2.3 kWh.
Bigger units, such as the 10,000 BTU AC, use around 2.9-3.0 kWh, and the largest and strongest ones of 12,000 and 15,000 use 3.5 kWh and 4.4 kWh, respectively.
How Can You Save Money By Using a Portable Air Conditioner
Although you can expect to see a bigger utility bill if you decide to start using a portable air conditioner, there are also ways to reduce these costs by being mindful about the way you use it. Here are some tips on how to save money while still using a portable air conditioner.
Customize the Cooling of Your Room(s)
Portable AC units can spend less energy, and you can spend less money if you don’t cool several rooms at the same time, but one by one. If you need to run the air conditioner on a schedule, you can cool down only those areas with a lot of use.
Temperature Management Throughout the Year
Even if you have a central system for heating and air conditioning, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t enjoy the option of saving some money by using a portable AC unit.
By investing in a portable AC unit, you can better manage your energy expenditure throughout the year, especially when the AC unit is being used together with the central system.
Portable ACs can often heat the space up, which gives them more value.
Other Features of Portable ACs
Thanks to their looks and versatile functions, many portable air conditioners can also be classified as tech gadgets.
If you are ready to spend some additional cash, you can literally get a form of AI cooling system. Usually, the more features and functions, the more money you have to spend, but the more you can enjoy the futuristic features of these machines.
Some of the most highly developed machines are enriched with smart applications and features that allow you to control your home’s temperature throughout the day regardless of whether you’re inside or outside.
For example, instead of switching on the AC and letting it cool throughout the day just so that you can return to a cool home, you can switch it on via your phone a little before you reach home.
Besides the high-tech and smart usage, many portable AC units have several (double or triple) machines within one unit. These are usually (de)humidifiers, air purifiers (HEPA), or very powerful strong air conditioners.
If the unit has a HEPA filter, it can also purify the air and remove potential pollutants such as smoke, bacteria, dust, and other allergens. This can be particularly useful if you use it in your living space and live in a city. In some situations, lowering the humidity of your space will also make the space feel cooler.
However, don’t forget that the BTU measure is still one of the best ways to determine how much space will be affected by your AC unit. The more BTUs the machine has, the larger the space it can cool.
Making an Efficient Home
Central cooling units are well known for being enormous energy spenders. Central systems require a lot of investment to install, not to mention maintenance and upkeep. Portable ACs, on the other hand, have shown to be much more energy-efficient, not to mention that it’s easy to install and maintain them, which is not the case with the central system.
Furthermore, with central systems, you usually can’t customize which area you’d like to cool down. You are obliged to either cool down the entire space.
Saving the most money possible on your electricity bill and cooling only a single room means that you should think about a small portable single-room air conditioner. Even if this is just a supplement to your existing central cooling system, you can still reduce your electricity bill, as this means that the central system will only work sometimes, and most of the time you’ll rely on the portable unit.
Summary: How Much Does It Cost to Run a Portable Airconditioner
After a long period of popular energy-inefficient solutions, we can say that portable AC units bring convenience and practicality back to offices, homes, and other indoor areas that require cooling down.
The world is becoming more and more expensive, and no one is very happy about it, so it’s a true blessing to be able to find a way to save up a few bucks whenever it’s possible.
As we explained earlier in the article, portable air conditioning units can be a significant money-saving source, especially when you compare them to central cooling systems. They simply spend less energy and enable you to cool only specific locations in your space, while the central system doesn’t allow that.
How much money that is exactly, depends on the BTUs, the size of your space, and your cooling preferences. The amount of electricity your AC unit will use depends on the BTU measurement.
Luckily, every portable AC has a technical specification where the BTU number is listed. It should also be written on the side of the unit. This means that you can easily check and determine how much it costs to run this kind of AC, and you can figure out the electricity usage and compare it to everything we shared in this article.